Well, today is Valentine’s Day 2012! I’m fortunate to have a few Valentines this year. You see, in my world your Valentines don’t have to be people you’re romantically involved with. Nope, I think your Valentine can be anyone who you love and care about. My wife, my little boy, my Mom, my best friend… all these people are my Valentines. But I’ve got another one, a new one, this year too. But the truth is, I don’t really know her. Well, I feel like I know her, but I’ve never seen her face or heard her voice. She’s a sweet lady in Texas named Peggi. I met Ms. Peggi last July went she sent me a sweet email about her situation and how a few of my recipes had gotten her back in the kitchen after her husband passed away. Since that time, we’ve traded quite a few emails. At Christmas, she sent my family a huge tin of gourmet popcorn. Last Friday night, I got home to find a voicemail from our local florist. She had left several messages throughout the day telling us that she had a delivery for us. Well, it was after 5 but we called her back and she showed up at our door a little while later with the most enormous gift basket I’d ever seen filled with Valentine’s goodies. It had with fruit, cheese, crackers, chocolates, cookies, even some Matchbox cars for my little guy. The florist was telling me that she had gone and hand picked everything for us and as I reached for the card, she said, “Oh, it’s from Ms. Peggi… from Texas. She told me all about you and your website and how you saved her life. She say’s you’re a pretty special person.” I felt tears well up in my eyes. I couldn’t imagine why someone who has never met me would go to all that trouble. Even now, several days later, I’m still amazed at the kindness of this person I’ve never met. It’s remarkable how something like a blog can connect two people in ways others can’t imagine. So, today I’m saying Happy Valentine’s Day to Ms. Peggi and all of you who follow Southern Bite. You’ve all become such an important part of my extended family!
This Red Velvet Cake recipe is the one my mother has used since the time I was a kid. It’s one of my all-time favorite cakes. It’s always a special treat to have one of these. You know, I typicall like easy, simple recipes. But sometimes, special occasions deserve a little more. I hope you’ll enjoy this cake as much as my family does!
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet hot chocolate mix (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 – 1 oz bottles red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- In a large bowl, mix together the cake flour, salt, and hot chocolate mix. (A note on cake flour: Cake flour is much finer than regular flour and produces a much different textured cake. - Also, I didn’t have a packet of hot chocolate mix, so I used 3 tablespoons out of a canister of mix.)
- With a mixer, cream sugar and butter together. Mix in whole eggs, food coloring, and vanilla. (Mix slowly when adding the food coloring or you and your entire kitchen will end up splattered with red!)
- Mix buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda together.
- Alternately add flour mixtures and buttermilk mixture to creamed ingredients until all of each mixture has been added.
- Divide batter into two greased and floured 8 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Frosting (see below recipe for an icing tutorial).
So, Here’s how I icing my cakes and give them what I can the “Duncan Hines” look…
- I usually slice off the tip tops of my cakes so they’ll stack better.
- I start with a dollop of icing in the middle of my platter or cake plate to hold the bottom layer in place.
- Top with the bottom layer and put a generous amount of icing right in the middle.
- Starting from the middle, spread the icing to the edges using an off-set spatula.
- Top with the top layer, and repeat.
- Now, spread icing on the sides. Remember, the goal here is to have pretty icing that doesn’t have pieces of cake in it. So start with lots of icing, you can always work it around to other areas and even off.
- Now go back and add icing to the top edge.
- I also like to swirl my spatula around on the sides and top to give it a luxurious look.